The Case for Community Tech: Report launch and fund news
Community tech — technology that gives power and generates benefit for communities — is a vital part of the modern technology ecosystem.
While a small number of very large companies might seem to dominate the digital landscape, the reality is that the Internet is full of alternatives and possibilities — of people making and sharing things for collective benefit.
Today we’re launching The Case for Community Tech, which sets out a vision for how hardware and software created by, with and for community organisations:
- builds the resilience and impact of individual community organisations and the communities they are part of
- contributes to the growth of place-based communities
- promotes a more diverse and sustainable technology ecosystem
Pioneering organisations from across the UK are developing alternative, locally rooted solutions to everyday problems like food delivery, sustainable housing, and green energy. And the technologies these communities are using and creating help them deliver collective benefits, including local economic and social capital, while also promoting a more diverse and sustainable alternative technology ecosystem.
In the words of Carolyn Hassan, CEO of Knowle West Media Centre, this is technology that helps “value to stick to a place”.
Over the last year, the Promising Trouble team has met with and spoken to people from UK community organisations who are making and using technologies that generate benefit for and give power to communities. Working alongside Power to Change and Cassie Robinson, we have discovered what these organisations have in common, the challenges they face, and the larger societal benefits that their approaches unlock.
Innovation is not only something that happens at start-ups and in labs. It also happens in skate parks and community radio stations, in community energy companies and social care collectives, in community pubs and libraries. Community tech helps unlock the potential of everyone, not just entrepreneurs and academics, and helps strengthen the social fabric in trustworthy, beneficial ways. It can generate and retain economic and social value for communities, provide an alternative to big tech, and increase the resilience and autonomy of community organisations.
This report marks the launch of a programme of activity throughout autumn 2022, including the launch of a £400,000 fund, Community Tech: Makers and Maintainers on 6 October and a Connected People and Places report, featuring contributions from a number of international technical and social innovators.